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Henri Matisse’s The Thousand and One Nights, a multi-panel, painted paper cut-out, was created when the artist was 81 and confined to his bed. Unable to sleep and kept alive by his drive to create, Matisse had much in common with Scheherazade, the legendary narrator of the Persian literary classic Arabian Nights. Scheherazade saves her own life from a vengeful king by enthralling him with a story that she always interrupts at a moment of suspense just after dawn, ensuring her survival through 1,001 nights. Like her tales, The Thousand and One Nights is a work rich in fantastical imagery and symbolism created during many sleepless, difficult hours.

The composition—with its fanciful magic lamps, dancing plant forms, hearts, and cut-out text—evokes the supernatural quality of the heroine’s storytelling and also the passage of time through the night. The complex shapes are skillfully interwoven to create a spontaneous, musical rhythm that captures the fascinating rapture of the story that inspired it. This work is a visitor favorite, but due to its fragile nature, it is only on view for a limited period of time—don’t miss it!

Henri Matisse; The Thousand and One Nights, 1956, gouache on paper, cut and pasted; Carnegie Museum of Art, Acquired through the generosity of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Family, 71.23 © Les Hériters Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse: The Thousand and One Nights

happens
from 07/04/2012
to 15/07/2012

more
Gallery One

where

The Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Tue–Sat 10am to 5pm. Thu 10am to 8pm. Sun 12pm to 5pm. Mon and major holidays closed
+1 412 6223131

source
Carnegie Museum
Pittsburgh USA

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